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“ovation-worthy solos” - All About Jazz

“flowed in a contemplative, somber vein, now and then building to moments of ferocious intensity” - The New York Times, on Korten's appearance with the Tyshawn Sorey Sextet

Critic’s choice: best pianists of 2020 - El Intruso 13th annual critics poll

“[among] some of the top Jazz talents in New York City” - Broadway World

“Counterpoint phrases and a whiff of dissonance prove to be rhetorical devices Korten is prone to, as the pianist's other, nimble-fingered contribution proves—singling his compositional approach out as an especially distinct kind.” - All About Jazz

“impeccable musicianship and characterful playing” - All About Jazz

Bandleaders of Note (Incomplete)

  • Melissa Aldana

  • Dayna Stephens

  • Morgan Guerin

  • Ben Solomon

  • Stacy Dillard

  • Jerome Sabbagh

  • Kenji Lee

  • Dylan Band

  • Riley Stone-Lonergan

  • Alex Hitchcock

  • Kazemde George

  • Helena Kay

  • Elijah Jamal Balbed

  • Evan Harris

  • Lluc Casares Adobe

  • Linda Sikhakhane

  • Marcus Elliot

  • Rachel Mazer

  • Stephen Grady, Jr.

  • Jaleel Shaw

  • Caroline Davis

  • Kasan Belgrave

  • Nicola Caminiti

  • Alfredo Colon

  • Alden Hellmuth

  • Zoe Obadia

  • Nicole McCabe

  • David Leon
  • Nathan Reising
  • Benny Rubin, Jr.

  • Shai Golan

  • Jasper Dütz

  • Milena Casado

  • Dave Adewumi

  • Linda Briceño

  • Davy Lazar

  • Kali Rodriguez Peña

  • Dwight Adams

  • Max Boiko

  • Allen Dennard 

  • Joel Ross

  • Sasha Berliner

  • Simon Moullier

  • Juan Diego Villalobos

  • Chris Turner

  • Tahira Clayton

  • Olivia Chindamo

  • Brendan Asante

  • Sami Stevens

  • Tatiana Eva-Marie

  • Lauren Scales

  • Arianna Neikrug

  • Gina D'Soto

  • Chelsea Lee

  • Mike Moreno

  • Jonathan Kreisberg

  • Vinicius Gomes

  • Yoav Eshed

  • Roy Ben Bashat

  • Flávio Silva

  • Talia Rubenstein

  • Nick Pennington

  • Olin Clark

  • Robert Hurst

  • Massimo Biolcati

  • Ron Brooks

  • Or Bareket

  • Tyrone Allen

  • Adam Olszewski

  • Ben Tiberio

  • Hannah Marks

  • Nick Dunston

  • George Delancey

  • Alex Claffy

  • Hamish Smith

  • Logan Kane

  • Marcos Varela

  • Dan Montgomery

  • Cole Davis

  • Giuseppe Cucchiara

  • Paul "PapaBear" Johnson

  • Mikey Migliore

  • Ben Rolston

  • Tim Norton

  • Alon Near

  • Kaisa Mäensivu

  • Tyshawn Sorey

  • Ari Hoenig

  • Joe Farnsworth

  • Clarence Penn

  • George Davidson

  • Jongkuk Kim

  • Kweku Sumbry

  • Luther Allison

  • Evan Hyde

  • Karl-Henrik Ousbäck

  • Gary Kerkezou

  • Kayvon Gordon

  • Stephen Boegehold

  • Philippe Lemm

  • Jonathan Barahal Taylor

  • Charles Goold

  • Yotam Ben-Or

  • Roni Eytan

  • Michela Marino Lerman

  • Jihye Lee

  • Darcy James Argue

  • Liberté-Anne Lymberiou

  • Matt Wong

  • Eliana Fishbeyn

  • Robert Buonaspina

Photography by Tom Henning

About Lex

Lex Korten is an award winning pianist and composer from New York City who has become an integral voice in the contemporary Jazz and improvised music scene in his home city and a rising star in the worldwide Jazz community. Korten's name has appeared in the New York Times and Vogue magazine, and he's established a resilient presence in the projects of artists such as MacArthur Fellow/Pulitzer Prize finalist Tyshawn Sorey, and Thelonious Monk Competition winner/Blue Note recording artist Melissa Aldana. Korten has otherwise found himself in demand by great musical luminaries including Jaleel Shaw, Mike Moreno, Joel Ross, Caroline Davis, Robert Hurst, Ari Hoenig, Jonathan Kreisberg, Joe Farnsworth, Dayna Stephens and Clarence Penn, as well as a near-comprehensive list of his own generation’s most prominent bandleaders in Jazz and Black American Music. 

Lex Korten has had ample opportunity to learn from some of the most dedicated and loving mentors in the piano pantheon, most formatively with Geri Allen and Benny Green. To help represent America’s great original art form, a music with social purpose and irrevocable partnership with African-American heritage, is a privilege and responsibility Korten strives to fulfill every day. He has been fortunate enough to perform in service of this ideal at an extensive list of the most lucrative festivals and clubs on 5 continents.

 

In 2020, Lex Korten won the UNISA International Jazz Piano Competition and released his solo piano debut “Foreword” the following year, and continues to cultivate longstanding relationships with NYC venues like The Jazz Gallery, Mezzrow and Ornithology as a regular bandleader.

Lex has taught pianists from all over the world privately and through The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Full Bio

       Lex Korten (b. 1994) was born and raised in New York City. Surrounded by an enormous rotating library of music in the household, Lex fell in love with Jazz around the age of 10 after being exposed to the sounds of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. He found his first mentor, Brooks Hartell, through the backpack newsletter of his elementary school (P.S. 87), and was guided into the life-changing discoveries of Wynton Kelly and Jaki Byard, amongst many other lifelong heroes. Lex’s development continued at the Stanford Jazz Workshop in California for 6 summers; he also studied throughout high school with Taylor Eigsti and eventually Fred Hersh. Lex was awarded by the National YoungArts Foundation for Jazz Piano/Composition before graduating in 2012 from the High School for Math, Science and Engineering in Harlem.

 

       Lex attended the University of Michigan to study with Geri Allen while pursuing a dual degree in political science. His years of close proximity with the scene and history of Detroit marked an extremely transformative period, thanks also to a tight group of inspired peers and an unforgettable cross-collaborative community in Ann Arbor. Lex was mentored closely for two years by renowned pianist Benny Green and also learned from Marcus Belgrave, Robert Hurst, Andrew Bishop, Ellen Rowe and Rodney Whitaker in the classroom and on the bandstand.

 

        After graduating with his BFA in Jazz Studies in 2016, Lex Korten returned to New York City. Since then, he has established himself as an irreplaceable young voice drawing a common thread between many different communities surrounding Jazz and improvised music. This is shown clearly by the kind of bandleaders who are seeking him out. He’s lucky enough to be central in the musical activity of his generation’s most ambitious leaders including Joel Ross, Morgan Guerin, Simon Moullier, Sasha Berliner, Ben Solomon, Milena Casado and countless others. Korten is also a prolific writer and bandleader with several highly anticipated recording projects. His solo piano debut "Foreword" released independently on June 18, 2021. He aims to learn from his peers, elders and youngers while continuing to compose and lend his voice to the ongoing dialogue occurring within the world of Black American Music.

       Korten has taught in an official capacity at The New School and Long Island University, and also has taught private lessons to students at prestigious conservatories including Oberlin, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Frost School of Music in Miami. He has also taught masterclasses at UNC Greensboro, the University of Rochester, the University of Michigan, LACHSA and Durban High School among others.

       Lex Korten's performance schedule has brought him to some of the most lucrative stages in the world including: The Kennedy Center, Jazz @ Lincoln Center, Blue Note São Paulo, The McCarter Theatre, The Library of Congress, Hill Auditorium, Earshot (Seattle)/ DC/ Rochester/ Atlanta/ Detroit/ AAPI (Newark)/ Winter (NYC) Jazz Festivals, Zandari Festa, The Kitchen, Roulette, Symphony Space, ZK Matthews Hall, The University of North Texas, Temple University, The University of Rochester, Berklee College of Music, and virtually all major Jazz Clubs in NYC as well as in cities like Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, London, Seoul, Buenos Aires, and more.

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